A couple of weeks ago we had a ‘day out’. We picked a city (Tour), went exploring, had a leisurely lunch and did a bit of shopping.
As I walked past the mirror on my out the door that morning I glanced up and thought ‘Hmph, cleans up pretty well!’
That’s not a thought I would have had 10 years ago.
Back when I was gainfully employed and spent my days (and some nights) in the office I was always ‘dressed’. I didn’t leave the bedroom unless I was fully made-up and in carefully coordinated clothes, let alone leaving the house or, God Forbid, the property! My fingernails were long, manicured, polished; and had been so, non-stop, for more years than I care to admit to.
Things have changed.
There’s not much point putting on mascara when I’m spending the day with my head in the hedge pulling out the Russian vine.
Coordinating shorts and t-shirts with fingernails stained from picking walnuts and legs bloody from cutting brambles is harder than it may seem.
It’s not worth the effort to do my hair in the morning when I’m picking dead leaves out of it by noon…not to mention the good brushing it needs to get the, uh, critters out.
I do still have long fingernails, but now it’s just so I can get a better grip on the weeds.
A friend came to visit shortly after we moved to France. She told me, kindly, of course, that her daughter had been speculating whether or not I wore a suit and heels to the garden. That was my reputation.
Now, when I leave the house I actually have to stop and think:
Hair? Combed, no leaves, check.
Face? Clean, a bit of make-up, check.
Clothing? Yes, check. (I have a fear that I’ll just forget some day).
Okay, try that one again…
Clothing? Clean, not ripped or held together with twine, check.
Will I embarrass anyone? Dogs, nope, Mon mari, nope, okay – I’m ready!
How about a meat loaf? This one is full of vegetables so it will qualify for Weekend Herb Blogging. After the big 2-Year Anniversary Bash of last week, celebrated by our intrepid founder, Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen, I thought comfort food would be in order. (BTW, if you haven’t checked out the party go do it, now!).
This week is being hosted by the lovely Susan, of The Well-Seasoned Cook.
I don’t usually do step-by-step photos, but I did for this one. It has rather a lot of vegetables in it and I didn’t think you’d believe me otherwise.
We see so many ‘authorities’ telling us how much of this and how many of that we’re supposed to eat everyday. I figured it out once and decided that if I listened to everyone:
1. I couldn’t eat it all even if I devoted 100% of my time to cooking and eating.
3. I’d be broke.
Still I try. One thing I often do is add vegetables to whatever I’m cooking. Everyone adds onions and garlic but why not some carrot and spinach, as well?
Spinach big on my list of vegetables to eat each week. According to the WHF, spinach provides more nutrients per calorie than any other food. WOW! Rather than me re-type it all, check out the site for yourself. You’ll start eating your spinach.
As a teaser just let me say that it’s good for your bones, your brains, your gut and your eyes, and helps combat cancers.
Did I mention that it’s good for you?
Meat Loaf Florentine
1 lb (500 gr) ground beef (mince) or beef and sausage mixed
1 medium onion, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
3oz (100gr) mushrooms about 3/4 cup finely chopped
1 carrot, about 1/3 cup finely chopped
1 – 2 stalk (rib) celery, about 1/3 cup finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
8 oz frozen spinach
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp parsley
1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz (jar 225ml)
Finely chop onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms and mince garlic. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté until they start to get tender, onion will be transparent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and frozen spinach. The heat from the skillet will thaw the spinach. Cook spinach and vegetables, stirring frequently until spinach is just thawed and mixture is well combined. There should be no visible liquid from the spinach. Remove and spread the vegetables on a plate to cool slightly. In large bowl lightly beat eggs. Add crumbs, wine, ketchup and herbs and mix well. Add meat and mix. Add about a third of the vegetables and mix (because the veg are hot add them slowly). Add another third, mix. Add remaining vegetables, mix well – at this point it’s best to use your hand, kneading it like bread dough. Put into a baking pan large enough to hold it easily and shape into a loaf. Cover and bake at 400F (200C) for 45 minutes. Remove and pour tomato sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, 15
minutes longer or until done. Remove, let rest 5 – 10 minutes. Cut in half. Put half on a platter, slice and serve. The other half is for Meat Loaf Sandwiches!
Whenever I suggest meat loaf for dinner the response, always, from both mon mari and ds is a cheer and a loud “Meat Loaf Sandwiches!” Well, they do have a point. That’s the main reason I put tomato sauce on the meat loaf – to have it for the sandwiches.
They like theirs plain with lots of ketchup.
I like mine with tomato sauce, mustard and home made dill pickles. And the fact that we get some veg in there is just a bonus!
Be sure to visit Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook, on Monday for the complete round-up.